Visiting Japan…in my own mind (with Photoshop!)

For Spring Break 2011, a friend and I had the great idea to visit Japan. Neither of us had been there and, remarkably, tickets were very cheap. (Well, as cheap as visiting popular destinations in Europe – less than $1000.) So, with only about 4 weeks until departure, we booked our flight and rail passes, and prepared to depart.

Our flight to Japan was scheduled for March 12, 2011. Unfortunately, this was the day after a massive earthquake hit Japan and the eastern coast of the country was hit by an equally massive tsunami. (Not sure there’s such a thing as a tsunami that isn’t massive.) We ended up canceling our trip.

The following week, I found myself with a week of time I hadn’t accounted for. One day, while going surfing the Internet, I finally let myself feel a bit down about not going on the trip. For some reason, I decided to have some fun with photoshop – I found pictures of quintessential Japanese traditions, and inserted myself into them as if I’d actually gone on the trip. It made for some hilarious photos.

Face Masking in After Effects

I had this idea to get a group of students, take a video of their faces, and then use AfterEffects to make their face do things they couldn’t actually do in real life. I did one other student, but ended up doing the most work on my own face because it was very time consuming and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with the project.

I ended up making about 3 versions of this video. Every time I tried tweaking, things started to look more fake – like you could really tell where the editing was happening. I ended up sticking with version 1, but I need to go back and add a border so that the camera moving left and right isn’t so noticeable.

I still like how it turned out. Pretty weird.